Pressley, one of the four freshmen Democratic lawmakers Trump has attacked in a series of racist tweets and statements this week, responded to the tirade in an interview aired Wednesday on “CBS This Morning,” explaining to co-host Gayle King that Trump is only “occupying the space” in the Oval Office.
“He does not embody the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity of a true president, and so for that reason I’m not dishonoring the office ― he does, every day,” Pressley said, explaining why she makes it a point to say “occupant.”
Pressley, who made history in November when she became the first black woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress, was joined on “CBS This Morning” by fellow members of “the Squad” lashed by Trump in his racist onslaught: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
Trump, without referring to his targets by name, launched his attack on the progressive lawmakers ― all women of color ― on Twitter Sunday, telling them to “go back” to other countries “from which they came” ― a common racist and xenophobic trope used against people of color.
Three of the four congresswomen were born in America. Omar came to the U.S. as a child ― like many other American citizens.
On Tuesday, the House voted to condemn Trump’s attacks as racist.
Pressley told King earlier in the interview that Trump’s comments were a “predictable prompt.” Tlaib added that Trump is the “the biggest bully” she’s ever had to deal with in her lifetime.
The four lawmakers held a press conference addressing Trump’s racist rant on Tuesday. Pressley declared then that she will “always refer” to the president as the occupant of the White House.
“We are grateful for your solidarity, your encouragement and your support, in the face of the most recent xenophobic, bigoted remarks from the occupant of our White House,” she told the crowd.